MENDOCINO Co., 7/22/20 — Many Round Valley residents woke up in the early hours of July 18, to witness much of one the town’s downtown blocks and three beloved businesses go up in flames. The Round Valley Art Center, the North Fork Cafe, and Western Auto Inc all caught fire which the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), after an initial investigation, has determined to be a case of suspected arson.
Here’s the press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office:
DATE: “July 22, 2020”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Crime/Incident: 451 PC – Arson
76000 Block of Highway 162, Covelo, CA
Date of Incident:
July 18, 2020
Victim(s): Round Valley Art Center
North Fork Cafe
Western Auto Inc
Det Sgt Luis M Espinoza #1228
On July 18th, 2020, at about 8:00 am, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the 76000 block of Highway 162, Covelo, CA in response to a commercial and residential fire which occurred in that area. Multiple business were destroyed or damaged during the reported fire which began at about 4:00 am on the morning of July 18th, 2020. Fire authorities requested law enforcement response based on the unknown nature of the fire. MCSO Investigations Bureau detectives and Arson Investigators with Cal Fire and the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority responded to assist with the investigation.
Arson Investigators determined the fire began on the exterior of the Western Auto Inc building and was located at the rear of the property. Based on their investigation, the fire was determined to be arson. A suspect or suspects is unknown at this time.
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office detectives continue to comb through surveillance footage from the area and have identified multiple persons of interest. We are asking anyone with information related to this investigation to come forward and contact us at the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 463-4086 or are tip line at (707) 234-2100. Peoples wishing to remain anonymous are asked to contact the We-Tip Anonymous Crime Reporting Hotline at (800) 782-7463, giving as much detail as possible.
Additionally, anyone with surveillance equipment located along Highway 162 or downtown Covelo contact detectives for possible access to your recording system. We also ask anyone who was present just prior to or during the early stages of the fire contact detectives and potentially provide digital evidence taken at that time which will assist in identifying the person or persons involved in this incident.
Approved by: Lieutenant Shannon Barney